I think you can run the snow covered trails in the winter. Its mostly a matter of timing. First you need to follow the snowmobile trails, then you have to have some warm weather and maybe some rain and then some some cold weather to turn everything pretty hard. Then your pretty well set, We had some kind of warm weather here monday when it got to 38 or so. Today it was 22 so I knew things were pretty frozen. I went up Cle Elum Ridge. We still have a little snow here. Even if you walk its only 1350 elevation gain.
It was hike-a-bike for the second half of the ridge. The first half was rideable.
Coming down was like riding with two flats. Heres a pic from the top.
I think I spotted a thread of yours a while back, which mentioned riding Cle Elum Ridge in the snow. . . and I remember thinking at the time, 'Man, that guy is just too hardcore for me!' :-o
Hell, last time I did that ridge -- summer before last, I think -- I got nailed by a thunderstorm, which I'd been hoping to outrun ever since the Lookout Mtn intersection (top of the 'Pvt Road' on the ORV map -- beyond the yellow gate, across the creek -- where it intersects #1326). And it'd started as a sunny, 80 degrees kinda day! So I went up/down, up/down, up/down trying to keep ahead of those dark clouds -- man, what a ball-buster that ridge is! -- but to no avail ultimately. When I reached the final descending section above Taneum Junction, the rain drops were producing bigger dust clouds than my rear wheel! and then -- wham! -- I had lightning touching down within yards of me (no exaggeration)! I hardly knew what to do -- me on my mobile lightning rod -- so I just kept pedaling like crazy, even though within minutes the trail had turned into a river, which told me whether I was climbing or descending just by virtue of which way the water was flowing!
I told myself then that I never wanted to revisit Elk Heights under inclement conditions. . . . That was one scary ride.
Still, dry cold is WAY better than wet, and some snow conditions make for good riding, as you say. One of the best rides I ever had was down Fife's Ridge one late fall, just after the very first two inches of fresh powder had coated the entire trail. Man, traction was great -- what a hoot that was! :-]
Well, it's good to know that some things are still doable Cle Elum-way in winter. I never woulda guessed that otherwise -- or even thought to enquire. Thanks for the tips! Hey, you're lucky to live nearby. I've always believed Cle Elum could be another Moab, only WAY better!